Business Advice: The candidate flood is coming

Are you ready for the candidate flood?

We are all acutely aware that a shortage of candidates is hampering the dynamic jobs recovery as we continue the re-opening of society in an environment that is still far from post-pandemic. More than 700,000 jobs have been added to the economy since the start of the year – 182,000 just across June and July. 

With the employment rate now at 75.1%, combined with a labour pool that is smaller now than before the pandemic, our clients are increasingly feeling the lack of liquidity in the candidate marketplace.

What can we do to support the ongoing and increasing demands within our clients’ organisations? 

Simply duplicating the usual office-based procedures to a virtual format may not be successful. Remember, with candidates in a face-to-face meeting, often the very personal, non-verbal cues and emotional intelligence come across – have a plan to continue to source this intel for your clients, in a different way, for example more competency-based interviewing and the use of video presentation technology.

CRM – how you use the system in your business is critical. In my experience, at any point in time, your consultants are likely utilising no more than 35% of your candidate population. Whilst there may well be very good reasons for this, ignoring 65% of a (probably expensively) created database is not smart – understand why this is happening and plan a candidate utilisation strategy. All too often significant marketing spend is used as a very expensive way of generating updated CVs of candidates already sitting in the CRM.

How we support our clients’ understanding of the current market dynamic needs to be scrutinised. Are we consulting and advising enough? Employees increasingly seek purpose in their working life, and employers need to meet this or lose to companies that will. Are we asking the Purpose question? Are their policies fully inclusive? Candidates want flexibility, values culture, purpose, learning & development, demonstrable career paths – and sometimes the ability to have a side hustle. Clients need to fully understand this and be able to clearly demonstrate and articulate their EVP (employee value proposition).

The Great Resignation is a recent term, coined by Professor Antony Klotz, a university academic who studies organisational management trends. He believes that employers should expect a significant exodus of talent as the jobs market continues to be buoyant. When there is economic and societal volatility, employees tend to stay in jobs, even less than ideal ones. This means the pandemic delayed candidate resignations among those highly motivated to move on. This is great news for recruiters – how is your business preparing to benefit from this increase of available candidates?

  • Move fast: be tech-enabled and accelerate the processes all through the funnel.
  • Focus on the candidate experience: communicate well. Continuous candidate engagement is critical.
  • Compensation advice is paramount from the off: clients cannot lowball high-demand candidates and trying to damage their EVP.
  • Work with clients with a strong employer brand: now is the time to be critical of where/how you spend your time.
  • How clients behaved during the pandemic will heavily influence hiring ability. In this era of Glassdoor and others, candidates will seek out reviews and experiences.
  • CRM: understand what your current candidate utilisation number is and develop a strategy to improve it.
  • Are you using the available technology to understand where your target talent is currently working and what is of most value and most attractive for them to consider alternative roles?
  • Have an excellent website: build custom web and mobile landing pages for all the relevant content, events and high-profile clients.
  • AI technology is here now: make sure you have tech champions in your business who are seeking continuous improvement in your service offering.

In short, recruiters face a double challenge: keep fighting through the drought, but make time to build your ark, because the flood is coming.

Tara Ricks is a NED to the recruitment sector and also COO of Elite Leaders, the advisory and consultancy game changes

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